Finished December 29
What Lies Within by Tom Vowler
This first novel is one of secrets and lies by omission. Anna was an eager young schoolteacher, convinced that if she just took the time, she could break through the resistance of her more difficult students and get them to appreciate literature.
When one of them breaks through her resistance in a different way, she withdraws completely, ending up going back to her childhood home, taking refuge with her parents and long walks on the moors. It is on the moors that she finds a way forward, and chance brings her to a job assisting a potter, giving her a new profession. She has made a name for herself in her art, and is now bringing in decent money.
But then a face from her past reappears, and she finds herself looking over her shoulder. When the presence becomes insistent, she finds the will to push back, but will it be enough? Must she find a way to tell her secrets and begin anew.
This book speaks to shame and the lies told to hide that shame. It speaks to the long reach of traumatic events. It also brings in the healing power of nature, and its influence on a person in subtle yet important ways.
Told mostly from Anna's point of view, there are also chapters from the view of other characters, that bring additional information.